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FDD3001 Research: Theory, Method, Practice 7.5 credits

Goal of the course

The goal of this course is to introduce the doctoral students the research process, philosophy of science, the scientific method and good research practices. 

As a part of the course you will read many nice papers/books to get an idea of how science is done, how it evolves and what it entails. The course might not help you speed up your Phd or maximize the returns from your research but it will give you a perspective about life as a PhD student or a researcher.

If you want to take the course: 

  • The course is intended for doctoral students who have already done some research work. Therefore, first year students are doscourgaed from taking the course. 
  • The couse is offered twice a year in P2 and P4. Because the course requires discussion, in each edition we keep tjhe number of students limited to 20$\pm$2.
  • You will receive information about the start of the course in P1 and P3 either by doctoral students mailing list or via the EECS newsletter. 

The picture on the side shows three way of doing science according to Fancis Bacon one of the pioneers of modern science. Spider (Deduction) Ants (Collection==Data) and Bees (Collection and Synthesis).

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see information from the correct course syllabus and course offering.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus FDD3001 (Autumn 2019–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The concept of scientific truth. Positivism and postmodernism.
Development of research as a practice and paper based system.
Role models.
Examples of paradigm shifts and controversies in research areas.
Establishing research results and findings.
Discourse oriented research.
Evidence based social/medical research.
Statistical inference foundations.
Rhetoric of scientific papers and applications, CARS model.
Research in the media.
Research ethos & pathos.
Ethics in research: colleagues, goals, public image.
Example guidelines/legislation on practice, ethics and publication.
Misconduct and enforcement system.
Career planning, bibliometrics.
Advisor/student interaction.
Discourse of excellence and administration.

Intended learning outcomes

After finishing the course you should be able to:

  • discuss and analyze the different value judgments that research communities recognize, in a broad area of research covering at least the CSC school of KTH, be able to evaluate research questions in these areas and relate them to principles and theories proposed in the philosophy of science and technology
  • find relevant and valid information on ethical principles guiding your conduct as researcher, and be able to apply it in your daily life as researcher
  • present your research and to plan presentations for different purposes. In these you should be able to find and communicate suitable motivations why your work leads to a better society - sustainable, bearable, robust, exciting, etc.
  • present yourself, to an appropriate level of detail, as a researcher in different social contexts
  • find relevant information and procedures for financing research, fundamental and applied, and present rhetorically appropriate research plans for different financing agencies, written as well as oral and social.

The learning goals for this course are NOT:

- writing, reading, talking, powerpointing, listening:
You are assumed to know this, but there are other relevant courses available if you need training in this

- practical training in your research discipline: 
this is done in your research lab, with your colleagues and advisors.

Course disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

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Recommended prerequisites

A general interest in philosophy of knowledge as such is probably helpful, as well as some confrontation with research in a research environment. It can also be helpful to scan through a good introduction to the area, like Sven-Ove Hansson's course notes Konsten att vara vetenskaplig, Patel, Davidsson: forskningsmetodikens grunder, Chalmers: 'What is science?', or some other similar light reading.


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • EXA1 - Examination, 7,5 hp, betygsskala: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Examination is negotiated between examiner and student.  Normally each student should do two of the following: a reading assignment in his/her area of
specialization; analyze a paper/grant proposal;  write a paper/grant proposal with attention to rhetorical (ethos, pathos, CARS) aspects; write a short paper analyzing a controversy in science, technology or philosophy, or on a similar topic of your own choosing that is approved by me.  Lectures given by external lecturers are compulsory, in the sense that relevant alternative assignments will be handed out for those that you miss.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Profile picture Arvind Kumar

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FDD3001

Offered by

EECS/Computational Science and Technology

Main field of study

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Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

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Arvind Kumar (

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at EECS/Computational Science and Technology